“There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.” – Jill Churchill
Comparison Is The Thief of Joy
In this day of social media, comparing ourselves to others is hard to escape. This is especially true when it comes to the most important job of all- being a mom!
One pass through Facebook, Instagram or the local park will have you feeling like you could never measure up to all the other “perfect” moms out there. Whether you are pregnant or have four kiddos whirling around you, comparisons to others, added to our own unrealistic expectations, can make us feel less than adequate and can rob us of the joy in this important job of developing these tiny humans into fully functioning adults!
Here are a few things to remember as a parent:
- Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself and extend grace to yourself! Remind yourself of the end goal.
- One bad day (when you have lost it too many times to count) does not define you as a parent.
- Children are resilient especially when they know that you love them and want the best for them.
- “This too shall pass” are four little words that can get you through most stages or situations with your kids that are especially trying.
Focus on What you can Control
Here are a few suggestions of things you can do to become the best mother for your children:
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Care deeply about what is best for your kids not how others see you or think about you.
- Act and react with love and kindness on your child’s behalf, and when you blow it, be quick to ask for forgiveness. Kids will learn more from this than anything else you do!
- Ask for help, ask for wisdom, ask for prayer from others who have walked the road of motherhood! We are all in this together!
- Practice being grateful. Thankfulness for even the little things like fixing a snack, folding another load of laundry, or tucking a toddler in at the end of a long day can be a game changer when it comes to our attitudes and mental health.
Go Easy On Yourself
Being a mom is hard work, but trying to be a “perfect” mom is REALLY hard work! The love you have for your child will cover a multitude of the mistakes that you will surely make over the years while parenting. It is good to realize that children are not the only ones who are growing and developing!
As parents, we can also grow into people with more patience, grace, forgiveness, flexibility and love. The journey of parenting little ones can seem unending, but it will be over before you know it! Savor the great privilege! Remember, you are the perfect mother for your child!
Find Encouragement When You Need It
Could you benefit from encouragement, wisdom, and tools for your parenting journey? Check out the Every Family parenting program. During your time in the program, you’ll meet one-on-one with a parenting coach and dive in to relevant topics for your family.
In addition, after each session, you will earn points that can be used to shop in our clothing closet which is stocked with baby items including diapers, wipes, equipment items, clothing, and more! Contact the office closest to you for more information.
Although some of the COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, many of us are still staying home and spending a majority of time with our immediate family. We know that this season of mandated togetherness has brought on added responsibility for some parents as they stepped into the role of being their children’s in-person teachers. For other families, it has brought on an extra tension at home as they navigate sibling conflicts and stressed out kids.
Maybe for the first time, your family had to learn how to be together-all day, every day, sunrise to sunset. We get that it has been a challenge and will probably continue to be as we continue to move through this time of COVID. That being said, we would like to offer you some thoughtful encouragement as the time of distance learning turns to summer.
Reflect on the Past Few Months
- Look around you, at your home and family and give yourself a pat on the back. Even if it has been incredibly hard, your family has come a long way in being together! Sure, it probably hasn’t been perfect but that is okay! What is one way your family has grown together in the last few months that has surprised you?
- Even if it didn’t always seem like it, your kids did learn something during all this distance learning. They learned new tech skills, how to engage with classmates virtually and adjusted to the major change in their school life. Even if your kid didn’t master multiplication, he/she gained life skills during this time. In what ways did your child(ren) impress you with how they responded to virtual learning?
- Embrace this season of life for what it is! It is a messy, uncertain time for everyone. Do not fall into the trap of comparing yourself or your children with other families. Remember you are doing the best you can with what you have. What’s one way your family has gotten creative during this time (home-made masks, trying different foods, etc.)?
Prepare for the Summer Months
As you move in to the summertime, with the likelihood of summer activities being cancelled or limited, here are some ideas to embrace this summer together, in all its messiness and uncertainty:
- Create a nature journal to use on nature walks! Collect leaf print, tree names and bird and bug drawings.
- Think of a team name for your family.
- Build in snuggle time with your kids each day as you read aloud a book together.
- Start a dance challenge with your friends and family! The Marco Polo App is a free, fun way to connect with others.
- Start reading a book series together as a family.
- Make chalk art obstacle courses on your driveway or sidewalk.
- Build pillow and blanket forts in your living room on the rainy days.
And remember, the time your kids spend with you is priceless. These moments of togetherness, having you close, and learning from you are key to their development. There isn’t a curriculum to follow – just be present with your kids, and see what happens.Learn More
Finding out you are pregnant may come as a surprise. This isn’t what you wanted, at least not now.
Maybe you’re thinking…
Learn From Others.
We understand. At First Care, we have met with thousands of women who have thought their dreams were shattered too. But, hold on. Take a breath. Pause. Give yourself time to process.
Find hope in their stories and know that on the other side of this, you will achieve and accomplish dreams, maybe even some new ones you don’t yet have!
You will meet with someone who has experience in finding resources to help you. We will talk with you about your dreams and how your decision for your pregnancy may impact those dreams.
Once you have a clear path forward, we can help connect you with the services or resources to make your unexpected pregnancy and future plans work!
See, you may think you’re dreams have been lost, but maybe they were never fully clear. The road is never as easy as it looks, but with First Care, we are there to walk alongside you, encourage you, and cheer you on to follow new dreams.
Call or text today to talk to someone who will listen and offer hope.Learn More
I was just a freshman in college when I found out I was pregnant. I was a high achiever with a plan for my life, which did not include getting pregnant.
When I found out, I was in total shock. I told my parents and they were as shocked as I was. They were a little bit disappointed, but very supportive.
Making a Decision
My first meeting with one of the staff at First Care sticks out to me. We spent a lot of time talking about how I was feeling, what I was thinking, what I was concerned about.
I’m wired by nature to want to know the information and make a plan and stick to the plan.
Instead, my time at First Care caused me to dig into what was going on in my head and heart: what I wanted, what I was scared about, what I imagined for my future and how my options fit into that.
First Care provided me with helpful information and long term goals to think about. As I thought through my options, I did consider adoption, but ultimately realized I wanted to raise my child. I knew I could do it because there was support available, even if my relationship with the baby’s father was complicated and difficult.
After I made my decision, I enrolled in their parenting program called Every Family and attended once a week throughout my pregnancy.
Through this program, I was able to learn about healthy development and growth. I was also able to meet with Parenting Coaches who were genuinely interested in my life and how I was doing. This program helped me feel less anxious about becoming a mother and it also provided me with practical items, such as diapers and clothes for my baby.
My son was born in May of 2015 and being his mom has been absolutely awesome. It hasn’t been without hardship, but the joys have far outweighed the hard days.
Since then, I graduated from the parenting program after two years in the program. I finished college with two degrees and I married the love of my life, a man who has been a part of my son’s life since he was four months old.
First Care Pregnancy Center is a safe place to talk about how you are feeling and thinking and not have to worry about everyone’s opinion. There really is no judgment or pressure. I am so thankful for my experience there and for being able to be a mom.
Our centers are currently open the following days and times for the month of June:
Minneapolis: Open Tuesday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Closed Mondays)
Richfield: Open Monday- Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closing at 4:00 p.m. the week of June 1)
Rochester: Open Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closing at 4:00 p.m. the week of June 1)
Saint Paul: Open Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closing at 4:00 p.m. the week of June 1)
Please contact the office nearest you by phone or text to inquire about specific services available at this time. Pregnancy testing appointments may be scheduled online, however other appointments need to be booked by phone or text. We have also compiled a comprehensive list of community resources to serve your family during this time.
Additionally, we are taking precautions to sanitize and screening all staff and clients before providing services. The health and well being of our clients is our top priority as well as ensuring that our volunteers and staff are healthy too. In order to ensure these standards, we are responding in the following ways:
- We are sanitizing all surfaces that are frequently touched after every appointment. We continue to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness within our centers and pay close attention to disinfecting all surfaces possible.
- All clients and staff will be asked to wear a mask for the duration of their visit. Masks will be available for those who do not have their own.
- We will have hand sanitizer available and encourage clients to wash hands before their appointments.
- We are also asking anyone who is currently experiencing any symptoms including respiratory, fever, cough, congestion, etc. to see a medical provider and we will ask them to not attend their appointment and instead reschedule for a later time. This is any person, whether client or the child(ren) of clients, family members, etc.
- We will ask you to reschedule if our staff notices a patient experiencing any cold like symptoms or illness.
- Any staff or volunteer experiencing virus symptoms will be asked to stay home.
Are you considering abortion as an option? Below you will find information on abortion costs and the different types of procedures in Minnesota.
If you are undecided about a plan for your pregnancy and you would like extra support, consider Options Counseling with one of our staff.
We always recommend taking time to get all the information about your options so you can make a well-informed decision about your pregnancy and your future.
Factors that Affect Abortion Cost:
- Stage of pregnancy. This means how far along you are in the pregnancy and how developed the baby is. This is best determined by having an ultrasound. Abortion clinics charge a fee for the ultrasound. Some pregnancy centers, like First Care, offer free ultrasounds.
- Insurance. Private insurances may cover the cost of an abortion. Many states do not cover abortion under Medicaid plans.
- Your state’s abortion laws. For instance, Minnesota has enacted the “Women’s Right To Know” informed consent law requiring that at least 24 hours before an abortion takes place, a woman must receive information about the medical risks associated with the abortion procedure, the gestational age of the unborn child, and the medical assistance benefits and child support payments available to her.
Minnesota Abortion Costs
In the state of Minnesota there are four different abortion procedures:
- A Medication Abortion (or the Abortion Pill): within 10 weeks of gestation
- Suction Aspiration/ Vacuum Abortion: 6-12 weeks gestation
- Dilation and Curettage: 13-16 weeks gestation
- Dilation and Evacuation: 17-21 weeks gestation*
*After 21 weeks you are unable to legally get an abortion in the state of Minnesota.
The cost of each abortion procedure varies and can have a range in price depending on which clinic/provider you see. Below is the typical range for abortion costs in Minnesota (without insurance).
|Abortion Pill||Vacuum Abortion||Dilation and Curettage Abortion||Dilation and Evacuation Abortion|
Please also be aware that the FDA highly discourages buying or procuring abortion medications online. Drugs from unknown sources can be dangerous and ineffective.
Women who receive one abortion procedure may also find that they’ll need another procedure for successful termination.
Explore Your Options at First Care
It is good to take time to think about your options. At our First Care centers we offer a variety of pregnancy related services for free to help you navigate your pregnancy journey and take time to explore your options.
While we do not provide or refer for abortion, our services are all free of charge and are a good first step if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy. Our medical staff can run a free pregnancy test for you—even if you’ve taken one at home.
If you are considering abortion, our sonographers can provide a free limited ultrasound to determine how far along you are and if your pregnancy is viable. In some cases, women experience miscarriages before they even have an abortion.Learn More
Our free pregnancy testing kit contains all of the supplies you will need to conduct a test at home, including a lab-quality test and video instructions provided by our medical team.
If you have a positive pregnancy test result, we can provide you with additional resources and information based on your needs and plans. First Care Pregnancy Center has caring staff available to help you process your test results and learn about your options. Same-day phone or virtual counseling sessions are often available.
How to Schedule
When you arrive for pick-up, please call us by phone to let us know you are here. We will leave your kit in a box just outside the door allowing you to pick it up in a touch-free manner.
If you have any questions regarding this service or others offered by First Care, please text or call us at (612) 712-6253.
Congratulations! You made it to the third trimester! Common feelings include nervousness and also excitement about your upcoming birth and parenthood. Rest assured, these are all normal feelings.
The third trimester will take you from week 28 through week 40 of your pregnancy. During the third trimester, you may notice some changes due to your growing baby and your body preparing for birth.
Here are few common changes you may notice during this final trimester:
- Abdominal aches: These aches could be caused by round ligaments stretching to accommodate your growing baby bump and preparing your body for birth..
- Fatigue: As baby grows to full-term, the demands baby puts on your body increase. Be sure to get lots of rest.
- Heartburn: As your uterus pushes your stomach upwards, you may notice an increase in heartburn. Talk to your doctor if it is bothersome or severe.
- Contractions: Braxton Hicks contractions may start as your body prepares for the birth of your baby. These contractions are irregular and usually mild. True contractions will be progressive, increasing in frequency and intensity. Be sure to call your doctor if you can time the contractions and they become painful.
- Stretch marks: Stretch marks typically appear due to genetics. Moisturizing your belly may help minimize their appearance.
- Generalized discomfort: As the baby continues to grow, some women will experience backaches, shortness of breath, urinating frequently or other discomforts.
- Breast changes: Some women notice their breasts feel very full and begin leaking towards the end of their pregnancy. This substance is called colostrum, and it’s common to notice some leaking even before the baby is born. Colostrum is very nutrient-dense and will be a wonderful source of nutrition when your little one arrives.
Your baby is also going through many changes during the final trimester to help prepare for birth and life outside the womb.
Here are a few notable milestones:
- Baby weighs between 2-4 pounds
- Rapid brain development that enables baby to regulate body temperature and have rhythmic breathing movements
- Lanugo (fine hair all over baby’s body) starts to disappear, and the hair on baby’s head starts to thicken
- Your baby gains more fat stores, and bones are fully developed (although still soft)
- Baby’s eyes are able to be wide open, and pupils are responsive to light
- Fingernails have grown to reach the tip of the fingers
- Lungs continue to develop and prepare for independent breathing
- Multiple separate bone plates in her skull that are able to slide and move to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal
- Baby is rapidly gaining weight! Expect your baby to gain about ¼ to ½ pound per week in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
- Baby drops lower in mom’s belly and is typically positioned head-down to get ready for birth!
Even though there can be many discomforts and physical demands during a pregnancy, we hope you have enjoyed bonding with your little one even before he or she is born! Every woman’s experience of pregnancy is different, so if you have any concern if something you are experiencing is “normal,” we always encourage you to reach out to your prenatal provider.
Be sure to join us for a birthing class as you prepare for delivery!
We hope this blog series has given you a glimpse of some of the changes you and your baby may encounter from conception to birth!Learn More
Have you missed your period by a couple days and wondering if are pregnant? Answer the questions below and note how many you answer “yes” to.
- Have you missed a period?
- Are you more tired than usual?
- Have you lost weight?
- Do you have to pee more often?
- Do your breasts feel swollen, sore or tender?
- Have you gained weight?
- Do you feel like throwing up?
- Are you experiencing headaches?
- Are you having mood swings?
- Do you feel dizzy?
- Have you noticed a change in your appetite?
If you answered yes to at least four of these questions, there is a chance you could be pregnant.
The only way to know for sure is to take a pregnancy test. First Care provides free lab-grade pregnancy testing and ultrasounds which can verify pregnancy and help determine how far along you are.
Even if you have taken a positive home test, we can confirm your pregnancy and provide information on your options. Our staff are trained to help you navigate your potential pregnancy and connect you to resources you may be in need of.
Your next step? Contact us by text or phone at 612-712-3974. Or schedule a confirmation pregnancy test online.Learn More
Becoming pregnant while pursuing an education can seem like a huge roadblock but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re a student in the Twin Cities at the University of Minnesota, Hamline, St. Thomas, Augsburg, Macalester, or St. Catherine University, you can find support and help through our centers.
At First Care, we will help connect you with resources in the community in addition to helping you identify available resources at your school.
Here are some of our tips to help manage pregnancy as a college student:
Gain a shift in perspective.
As we all grow and mature in life, it is important to realize that hard, difficult, challenging and unexpected things will ALWAYS be a part of life. They are unavoidable and that is not meant to be discouraging. Rather, it is intended to help you see the strength and capability you have within yourself to press on in the midst of unexpected challenges.
Who is in your corner?
I like the metaphor of a boxer who may have thousands of cheering fans but only a select few people in her corner, walking alongside her each step of the way. Take a moment to think about the people in your corner; who is there to support you through this pregnancy? Family, friends, partner? If you don’t have enough support, our Client Care staff can help you widen your support base.
Another key aspect in managing your pregnancy is recognizing any material or financial support you might be needing. This could be baby/maternity supplies, getting connected to programs like WIC, education classes to help prepare you or parenting groups for support.
- The U of M has a Student Parent Help Center that helps students who are pregnant and/or parenting with a variety of resources and support such as: child care resources, family housing, lactation resources, Parents As Students Support Group, Family friendly activity and events list, Teen Parent Outreach Program, and scholarships.
- The University of St. Thomas provides numerous resources to assist pregnant and parenting students.
- The Jeremiah Program provides services for pregnant women who want to pursue or continue their education and/or workforce prep.
We can help you gain access to all of these resources and more.
Believe In Yourself
Recognize you can do both – carry a pregnancy to term and be a student. It may look different than expected but, becoming pregnant does not mean you cannot continue your education. A lot of colleges have resources for pregnant students and want to help you through this as well. We encourage you to talk with your professors and advisers to make a plan for what this can look like.
Often with holistic support, women who experience an unplanned pregnancy realize they are stronger than they know and can move from surviving to thriving in their situations.
Remember you are not alone, not the first person to be experiencing this and you are so capable to get through this season of life.
Connect with one of our Client Advocates today to learn how we can specifically help you!Learn More